It's falcons v seagulls at Hempsted tip in Gloucester
GULLS are meeting their match in Gloucester as experts battle to rid the city of the pests.
An estimated 60,000 gulls have disappeared from Hempsted tip after owners Cory Environmental employed falcons to get rid of them.
It has been running alongside Gloucester City Council's programme, since 2003, of oiling eggs to prevent baby gulls from hatching.
Falconer Dave Tonks has been using his birds to cull gulls at the tip seven days a week for a year. He used falcons, which fly above the gulls, stoop down and pin the gulls to the ground where they were dispatched.
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He said that from tens of thousands, there are now very few left at the tip. Yesterday, he used birds of prey to scare and dispatch gulls nesting in Brunswick Square at the request of a housing association.
He said: "The falcons are very effective but we don't allow the falcons to eat them. We also leave the falcons tied to their perches for half a day as a deterrent to the seagulls."
MP Richard Graham, who lives in the square and called gulls "birds of mass destruction" in Parliament last year, said: "I congratulate them for taking action rather than sitting back and expecting someone else to do so." Last year, Gloucester City Council said there were up to 60,000 gulls were feasting on Hempsted landfill – one gull for every two people in the city.
A spokesman for Gloucester City Council said their efforts to combat gulls breeding in the city remained egg oiling and egg replacement tactics.
Chris Brown, of Cory Environmental, which runs the tip, said: "Cory Environmental has been working closely with Gloucester City Council, Gloucestershire County Council and the Environment Agency to control gull numbers at Hempsted landfill site since August 2011."